Villanova-Oklahoma: Final Four Preview

The conclusion of March Madness comes in Houston where the Final Four takes place. It has been seven years since Jay Wright and Villanova were last one of four remaining schools taking part in college basketball's national semi-finals, but here they are again in 2016.

You don't see this very often, but Villanova will face the Oklahoma Sooners, a team they happened to play already this year in a non-conference game at Pearl Harbor in December.

It was the Wildcats biggest loss of the season.

Now the Wildcats look to make the leap that they couldn't seven years earlier, and reach the National Championship. Tip off is scheduled for 6:09 p.m. from Houston.

The Wildcats have established their leaders, but really, every night is a team effort with a different standout. So far in the tournament, Kris Jenkins, Ryan Arcidiacono, Josh Hart and Daniel Ochefu each starring in one of the four games that got Villanova to Houston.

Obviously, Oklahoma is one of four for a reason as well. They have arguably the best player remaining in the tournament, and that kind of star power can energize an entire team.

Buddy Hield has been the talk of the tournament. The senior has averaged 17.3 points per game this season, but in the tournament, that has gone to another level. In four tournament games, Hield has averaged 29.3 points per game.

Hield is not alone either. During the tournament, both Jordan Woodard and Isaiah Cousins have each averaged in double figures. Woodard is averaging 16.8 points per game during the tournament.

During the regular season, Ryan Spangler also averaged in double figures with 10.3 points per game and is also a scoring threat.

The task for Villanova is to break up a hot-shooting team with the defense that helped disrupt Kansas last Saturday. The Jayhawks came in with a lot of momentum, but struggled to find rhythm against the Wildcats as Villanova created turnovers and forced fouls. It was a game essentially decided at the line in scoring. Kansas made just 11 trips to the line in the entire game, while Villanova hit 14 free throws.

These are two teams that can bring a ton of scoring, but as we saw with Kansas, defense is what wins. This game and the chance to play for a national championship will come down to who can shut down the opposing offense the best.

If any one of Villanova's four can get going or if Hield starts to go off again, it could spell the end of the other's title hopes.

But for the city of Philadelphia, this is an opportunity for a Big 5 school to be on the cusp of greatness. This team has already made history with the first ever No. 1 ranking in school history. There could be more history to come in the next couple of days.

Kevin Durso is editorial assistant for Sports Talk Philly. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.

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